HEARTTHROB Johnny Depp has revealed that his latest movie role was inspired by a Scots Canadian actor.
The film icon is to star as vampire Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton’s gothic comedy Dark Shadows.
But he says Jonathan Frid, whose parents left Scotland after marrying, was the reason he watched the TV show on which the film is based.
Depp will star as an aristocratic vampire in his new film Photo:Caroline Bonarde Ucci
Speaking after the 87-year-old actor’s death last month, he said: “Jonathan Frid was the reason I used to run home from school to watch Dark Shadows.”
He also called the actor, who trained at RADA, a “true original”.
The original soap opera ran for more than 1200 episodes between 1966-71.
It made Frid a household name after he landed the part almost by accident after swapping Canada of California.
Jim Pierson, a close friend of Frid and spokesman for the original creator of Dark Shadows, Dan Curtis, said: “Twenty million people saw the show at its peak in 1969. Kids ran home from school and housewives watched it. It had a huge pop culture impact.”
Frid, and other original castmates, will feature as cameos in the remake, which features Depp as an 18th century aristocrat cursed to live as a vampire after spurning a lover.
Jonathan Frid was one of three sons born to Isabella Flora McGregor and her husband Herbert Percival.
Their son remained proud of his roots, talking about his name in an interview he once said: “in the 11th century, the name Frid was related to names like Frith, Firth and so on and there was a surname that at that time was related to it: Freak. And there was a surname Fright. So I say ai came by my reputation honestly.
“Then we found another book in which the word Frid was a kind of prehistoric animal up in the highlands of Scotland and they were called Frideans, they were kind of half-human, half-animal.”
In Scots mythology a “fried” is a kind of goblin which can only be persuaded not to kill travellers when given gifts of bread and milk.